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It Is Time For CRNA's And AA's To Get Along!

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JCole View Drop Down
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Joined: 03 Oct 2007
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  Quote JCole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: It Is Time For CRNA's And AA's To Get Along!
    Posted: 01 Sep 2009 at 8:00pm
It Is Time For CRNA's And AA's To Get Along!

I have been reading so many messages on internet forum message boards from CRNAs against Anesthesiologist Assistants for over the past month, and I think the majority of them are ridiculous. I am currently a PA-C working at a Baltimore inner city ER, and I also have been shadowing an MDA at Johns Hopkins Hospital (where only CRNAs work).  I have discovered a few things from my experience.

1. CRNAs are qualified and competent anesthesia providers but they simply do not have the same knowledge base as MDAs. When things get heated up, as it occasionally happens, MDAs are more prepared to handle critical situations. This could mean the difference between life and death. CRNAs need MDAs as much as Anesthesiologist Assistants. The surgeon will not bail you out.

2. There is a shortage of anesthesia providers (including CRNAs). Anesthesiologist Assistants are not going anywhere.

3. The CRNAs that I have worked with and seen in action are not like any of the CRNAs on some of the message boards I have been on recently that put down AA's. They do not seem threatened or insecure.

4. It seems that CRNAs on some of the message boards that I have been too are insulting to the AA profession because they are insecure about their own ability and knowledge which results in this defense mechanism. If I was a CRNA, who had a great track record, I would not waste my time insulting another anesthesia provider. I would not care because I would know that my job is secure because I am a proficient anesthesia provider.

5. All the CRNAs who have argued back and forth with AAs and prospective AAs on forums throughout the internet, just relax and concentrate on becoming better at your job. It's like me criticizing a nurse practitioner and insulting their profession. It's nonsense.

Lets form a mid-level anesthesia provider union - CRNA's & AA's as ONE Union.


Edited by JCole - 01 Sep 2009 at 8:03pm
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Mytwocents View Drop Down

Joined: 05 Sep 2011
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  Quote Mytwocents Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Sep 2011 at 12:57am
I agree with the PA. Clinically there is little difference between a CRNA and an AA. They basically do the same job. Whether one follows a "medical model" like a PA or a "nursing model" like a CRNA or a NP, the end result is the same. I suspect that the CRNAs on various message boards are insulting, not because they're insecure about their own ability, but AAs pose a threat to their profession. This is basic human nature.

There are those who feel that anesthesia is the practice of medicine and to remove physician supervision requirements pose the likely possibility patients would be harmed. While CRNA (and AAs for that fact) may not have the same knowledge base as MDAs, nurse anesthetists have a long, documented history of performing safe anesthesia care. Research, study after study, has demonstrated that nurse anesthetists do provide high quality anesthesia care with safe patient outcomes equal to physicians practicing within the same area of expertise. In fact, nurses were among the first providers of anesthesia.

CRNAs do not need anesthesiologists as much as AAs. As some states allow CRNAs to practice independently. It is true that "the surgeon will not bail you out"; but in the insurance world, surgeons and anesthesiologists are adversaries - its called the deep pocket theory.

AAs are in their infancy. In essence the new kids on the block. I saw one statement that said that some CRNAs were graduates of hospital-based certification programs and did not have college degrees. This is true, but I'm old enough to remember when people with hospital experience (physician's personal assistants, experienced orderlies, etc.) could be grandfathered as PA's as long as three physicians vouged for the individual. I personally saw this in cardiology and was obviously before the certification process.

There is room for all of us. Be good at what you do and your performance will speak for itself!
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